Bombay Showcase

Sri Lanka on your platter

Sri Lankan cuisine is a unique combination of flavours. You can taste the delicacies at a pop-up event at the Road House Bluez today —PHOTOS: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  

ri Lanka, with close historical ties to India, boasts of a cuisine that is a confluence of many cultures. Sri Lanka’s past is dotted with colonial influences from the Dutch and the British, not to forget the spread of Buddhism from India.

As cultures interact, so do cuisines. But you don’t have to travel there just yet. You can sample some interesting Sri Lankan fare today at a food pop-up, organised by Payal Bhuptani and Upasana Shukla Maheshwari, founders of Don’t Give A Fork.

The meal will offer a spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies made using recipes learnt in Sri Lankans. While Bhuptani had visited the country several years ago on a work trip, Maheshwari and her husband went there on vacation just a couple of months ago. Their trip began from the capital, Colombo, and from there, they drove up the east coast and then the south. The most memorable destinations were Kalpithiya, Trincomalee, Passikuda, Arugam Bay, Unawatuna Beach and Galle. Each place on their itinerary surprised them with its culinary delights.

“The thing we love about Sri Lankan cuisine is the unique combination of flavours,” says Maheshwari. “They also have a lot of accompaniments to go with the main course. Every mouthful is an experience of a different flavour. The best of all is their spicy food. My husband and I love it, so that was an added bonus.” She fondly remembers the late night snacks of kothu roti (a delicious blend of chopped roti, eggs, meat and vegetables) from various food stalls and a mouth-watering traditional lunch at Kaema Sutra in Colombo.

There was also the lamprais (rice and meat cooked in banana leaves, and served with pickle) and watalappan (baked coconut and egg custard) at Green Cabin — an old cafe with smiling waiters and lush green trees around it.

Unforgettable taste

“In Passakuda, we went to resort called Annilana. It deserves a special mention, as everything we had there was amazing,” says Maheshwari. “The executive chef was kind enough to help me with some curry recipes and authentic spice mixes, which we are going to try at our pop-up. She and Bhuptani wanted to replicate some of these experiences for food lovers in Mumbai, and also introduce them to the culture these dishes come from. That is where the idea of the pop-up event came from.

In the past, Don’t Give A Fork has organised food pop-ups serving cuisine from South America and North Africa. “Upasana’s husband, Sumit and I were classmates at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. When we first met, an instant connection was built over food,” says Bhuptani. “We wanted to pursue this further, so Upasana and I decided to organise food pop-ups. Initially, we tried out our ideas at friends’ homes. When we tasted some success, we moved to Road House Bluez. The idea is to serve international cuisine from all over, fine dining style.”

On the menu

At the Sri Lankan pop-up, the first course will consist of kothu roti with salad and polos made of jackfruit, and mutton. The second course will have lamprais, a vegetarian Sri Lankan curry, and black pork curry. It will include side dishes such as seeni sambol (sour and spicy dish made of caramelised onion and fish flakes), brinjal pahe, tapioca chips, Sri Lankan mango chutney, and more. The third course will comprise watalappan served with curd, kithul, strawberry wine jam, and spiced walnuts.

Bhuptani says, “A way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. We feel there is a lot that people can learn from food. Whenever you visit a new place, you immediately start looking for the best food joints. And whenever you try out a cuisine from a different part of the planet, a part of your heart makes a small home there.”

Venue: Road House Bluez, Andheri West. Time: 12.45 pm-3.45 pm

Email: dontgiveafork @gmail.com

The writer is a freelancer who tweets at @chintan_connect


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 11:48:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/sri-lanka-on-your-platter/article8205611.ece

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